School hit by damning report

West Linton Primary School
West Linton Primary School

Poor rates of progress in literacy and maths have been identified at a local school, with the headteacher said not to have a ‘clear vision’.

The damning HM Inspectorate of Education(HMIe) report into West Linton Primary School was published on Tuesday.

Inspector Susan Gow rated the school ‘unsatisfactory’ in three areas, weak in another four, and only adequate or satisfactory in the remaining five areas she assessed.

In her report, Ms Gow said: “Children are not making sufficient progress in developing literacy skills. The rate of progress is too slow.”

She had similar comments to make regarding numeracy, although acknowledged that the school was already attempting to address these issues.

However, Ms Gow later added: “The headteacher does not have a clear vision for the school... The school would benefit greatly from more effective leadership and ambition for its children.”

Responding to the inspector’s report, depute chief executive for the council, Jeanette McDiarmid, said: “This is a very disappointing inspection result.

“I would like to reassure parents and the wider community that every effort is being made to make significant improvements in the areas identified.”

The chairman of the school’s parent council, Tristan Compton, added: “This report highlights significant failings in the quality of education, which must now be addressed.

“With the support of the council this school has the potential to be excellent and the parent council is looking forward to working with the school in the coming months to achieve the improvements that are needed.”

The inspection report, published after Ms Gow’s visit to the school before the summer holidays, highlighted that pupils are articulate, polite and very well behaved, and that the new school building has the potential to help children’s learning.

However Ms Gow called for improved leadership and communication, and has urged the teachers to challenge pupils more, as well as improving the curriculum and ensuring greater involvement of parents and the wider community.

Along with the inspection, a survey of teachers, pupils and parents was carried out by HMIe.

This found that 68 per cent of teaching staff disagreed that the leadership of the school at all levels was effective, with more than half also saying they were not involved with setting priorities to improve the school.

Ms Gow concluded: “As a result of our inspection findings we think that the school and nursery needs additional support and more time to make necessary improvements.

“Our area lead officer will work with Scottish Borders Council to build capacity for improvement, and will maintain contact to monitor progress.”

A further inspection of the school will be carried out within the next year.